USD men’s golf team junior Tommy Vining capped off September winning the Summit League player of month.
“It was a good feeling I didn’t really expect,” he said. “A lot of hard work paid off.”
Vining, originally from Sioux Falls, finished second overall out of 68 players in the team’s season opening Itani Quality Homes Collegiate in Pullman, WA. He finished 11-under-par, breaking the program record for a 54-hole tournament and helped the Yotes to a fourth-place finish.
“Winning player of the month doesn’t change anything when it comes to preparation,” Vining said. “It’s a byproduct of the work I am putting in.”
During his high school career, he won two individual state championships in 2012 and 2013 and led his team to the team championship in 2012.
As a senior, Vining finished sixth at the state tournament while recording an average round of 71.6. He was named to the all-state and all-conference teams all four years of high school.
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard he had won the honor,” said Nick Hovden, head coach of the men’s golf team. “The kid works his butt off.”
In 2015, Vining competed and won a U.S. Amateur Qualifier and the 45th South Dakota Golf Association’s Men’s Amateur Championship.
He started his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota with a fifth-place finish out of 81 golfers in his first tournament. With the Gophers, he played in nine tournaments and had an average round of 76.3.
Last year, Vining was named to the all-Summit League first team squad. He also broke multiple program records throughout the course of the year.
“He puts in a lot of time and effort,” Hovden said. “His hard work and dedication towards the game is really paying off.”
This summer, Vining won the South Dakota Men’s Amateur Championship for the second time after trailing going into the final round. Vining won shooting a five-under 66.
The team had four players finish inside the top five and 10, said Hovden.
“It’s been a very fun fall season,” Hovden said.
USD men’s golf closed their fall season at the Pacific Visit Stockton Invitational hosted by the University of Pacific in Stockton, CA. Vining placed second at the invite.
Vining said he’s grateful for being able to play golf for USD.
“I choose to play golf because God gave me the ability to play it,” Vining said. “I want to work as hard as I can at it until he changes that plan for me.”